Remembering Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr

Designed by: Nour Fakih

Saudi Crackdown: Two Opposition Activists Martyred As Regime Forces Storm Dammam

By Staff, Agencies

At least two political dissidents were martyred in Saudi Arabia when regime forces raided a village in the kingdom’s oil-rich and Shia-populated Eastern Province, in the course of the crackdown led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [MBS] against pro-democracy campaigners, Muslim preachers and intellectuals continues unabated in the country.

Local sources, requesting anonymity, said security forces stormed into al-Anoud neighborhood of the provincial capital of Dammam, located about 400 kilometers east of the capital Riyadh, on Wednesday afternoon.

The sources added that two opposition figures were fatally shot in the process.

On December 2, Saudi Arabia’s Specialized Criminal Court sentenced five anti-regime dissidents from Eastern Province to death.

The London-based and Arabic-language Nabaa television news network, citing social media activists, reported at the time that the Riyadh-based tribunal passed the verdicts against Mahmoud Issa al-Qallaf, a resident of Ash Shweikah neighborhood in Qatif region, and four others from the town of al-Awamiyah, who were identified as Mohammed Ali al-Aqili, Ahmed Mohammed Abu Abdullah and his brother Amir, and Musa Jaafar al-Samkhan.

On September 12, the rights group Prisoners of Conscience, which is an independent non-governmental organization advocating human rights in Saudi Arabia, announced in a post on its official Twitter page that the Specialized Criminal Court had sentenced Shia cleric and human rights activist Sheikh Mohammed al-Habib to 12 years in prison and imposed a travel ban on him.

Sheikh Habib had been recently released after three years of arbitrary detention.

Saudi Arabia has stepped up politically-motivated arrests, prosecution and conviction of peaceful dissident writers and human rights campaigners.

Saudi officials have also intensified crackdown in the country’s Eastern Province.

Eastern Province has been the scene of peaceful demonstrations since February 2011. Protesters have been demanding reforms, freedom of expression, the release of political prisoners, and an end to economic and religious discrimination against the oil-rich region.

The protests, however, have been met with a heavy-handed crackdown by the regime, with its forces increasing security measures across the province.

HRW Highlights «Deepening Repression» Under Saudi’s MBS

HRW Highlights «Deepening Repression» Under Saudi’s MBS

By Staff, Agencies

Human Rights Watch says Saudi de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s [MBS] rise to power two years ago has been accompanied by “deepening repression and abusive practices” across the kingdom.

In a new report released on Monday, the New York-based group said activists, clerics and other perceived critics of the Saudi crown prince continue to be arbitrarily detained more than a year after the killing of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in the kingdom’s consulate in Turkey.

The report noted the detention of dissidents and harassment of their families was not a new phenomenon in the kingdom history, but the wave of repression since late 2017 had been distinguished by new repressive measures.

“Detaining citizens for peaceful criticism of the government’s policies or human rights advocacy is not a new phenomenon in Saudi Arabia,” it said.

“But what has made the post-2017 arrest waves notable and different, however, is the sheer number and range of individuals targeted over a short period of time as well as the introduction of new repressive practices.”

The crackdown under MBS began in September 2017 with the arrest of dozens of critics and rights activists in what was widely interpreted as an attempt to crush dissent.

The crown prince has also been on a modernization drive with reforms including allowing women over 21 to obtain passports and travel abroad without the permission of a male guardian.

But these reforms have belied a “darker reality,” according to the report, including the mass arrests of women’s rights activists, a number of whom have allegedly been sexually assaulted and suffered torture including whipping and electric shocks.

The report also said those reforms were a smokescreen for the ongoing detention of dozens of dissidents, some allegedly tortured in custody.

“Important social reforms enacted under Prince Mohammed have been accompanied by deepening repression and abusive practices meant to silence dissidents and critics.”

According to the report, the new repressive measure by MBS included extorting financial assets in exchange for a detainee’s freedom, a tool used against dozens of business people and royal family members arbitrarily held at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh in November 2017.

Hundreds of elite princes and businessmen were then detained in what was billed as a move against corruption that was draining state coffers.

HRW cited reports that Saudi Arabia has used surveillance technologies to hack into the online accounts of the regime critics and infected their mobile phones with spyware.

The report also highlighted a lack of accountability for those responsible for Khashoggi’s murder, a crime MBS has sought to distance himself from.

A UN report released in June said there was “credible evidence” MBS and other senior Saudi officials were liable for Khashoggi’s killing, which the kingdom has characterized as a rogue operation by its agents.

But the international criticism has failed to halt a campaign against perceived dissidents inside the kingdom, according to the HRW report, with waves of arrests carried out against women’s rights activists and their allies this year, including the writer Khadijah al-Harbi, who was pregnant at the time of her detention.

اليمن شريك بالقوة في وظيفتين خليجيتين

 

أغسطس 3, 2019

د. وفيق إبراهيم

الدولة اليمنيّة في صنعاء تزداد قوة مقابل خسارة «الدولة الوهميّة اليمنيّة» في السعودية لآخر إمكاناتها، وهي إمكانات كانت تستمدها من العدوان السعودي ـ الإماراتي على اليمن المستمر منذ سنين خمس.

أما الأسباب فباتت واضحة وهي أن تراجع العدوان الخارجي وحلفه اليمني الداخلي، ليس لخسارة مواقع او معارك، بل لفقدان وظائف استراتيجية لا تزال تشكّل حتى الآن الأسباب الأساسية للاهتمام الغربي بجزيرة العرب والخليج.

للايضاح فإن بلدان الخليج تبيع نفطاً وتشتري كل شيء تقريباً باستثناء البلح، ما أنتج معادلة تقوم على أن الغرب يُنقِّب عن النفط بواسطة شركاته التي تعالجه وتصدره الى العالم الغربي وبعض البلدان الآسيوية والأفريقية المستهلكة، ما أنتج علاقة عميقة بين نظام اقتصادي غربي وسلطات خليجية تأسست على سطو غربي متجذّر ثنائي الحركة: النفط من الخليج وتصدير البضائع الغربية وكل الأنواع الى الخليج، فتطوّر هذه العلاقة بين الطرفين الى نظام حماية متكامل المواصفات والشروط مع دفع البدل والاتاوات والضحية بالطبع هم سكان جزيرة العرب.

لكن الاستثناء على هذه القاعدة كان اليمن. فالسعودية بذلت إمكانات كبيرة منذ ثلاثينيات القرن الماضي لمنعه من الاستقرارين السياسي والاجتماعي، وحرمانه من إمكانية استثمار موارده الاقتصادية. وهذا واضح في السياسات السعودية التي لا تزال مستمرّة في اليمن منذ سبعة عقود وأكثر.

الأمر الذي يكشف أن العدوان السعودي الإماراتي الحالي المدعوم عربياً وغريباً وإسرائيلياً عليه هو استمرار للسياسات السعودية التاريخية ضد هذا البلد بدعم غربي مفتوح.

أما أسباب هذه العدوانيّة السعودية التاريخيّة، المتواصلة، فهو رفض آل سعود ليمنٍ مستقرّ فيه غلبة سكانيّة ويستطيع العيش من موارد غير نفطيّة متحكّماً برأس جزيرة العرب، ولديه علاقات نسب وانتماء مع معظم القبائل في السعودية وعُمان، وأهله مولعون بحب المعرفة والعلم والإحساس العميق بوحدة النسب مع الجوار في المنطقة العربية.

لذلك فالعدوان السعودي الحالي على اليمن، يحمل هذه العدوانية المذكورة، مضافة إليها محاولة منع اليمن من التعاون مع السياسات العربية والإقليمية المعادية للنفوذ الأميركي وبالتالي السعودي ـ الاسرائيلي.

لمزيد من التوضيح فإن الهجوم السعودي ـ الإماراتي بدأ بالدخول الى اليم منذ 2014 مستهدفاً السيطرة على كامل بقاعه وسط حملة إعلامية، بأن أسبوعين فقط كافيان لإسقاط الدولة في صنعاء، وهذا كلام موثق قاله ولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان زاعماً أن قواته تريد تحرير اليمن من أهله.

الآن وبعد خمس سنوات يطأطئ بن سلمان رأسه من دون توضيح أسباب تراجع قواته المدعومة بالمرتزقة والسلاح والحصار وكل شيء تقريباً.

هذا مقابل صورة معاكسة، ليمن أصلي قاتل العدوان باحترافيّة تاريخيّة في إطار خطة يتواصل صعودها لتحقيق الهدف الكامل وهو تحرير البلاد من العدوان. وهذا يؤدي تلقائياً إلى ولادة دور إقليمي لليمن بدأ يتشكّل منذ الآن.

كيف تتبلور جهادية اليمن نحو التحرّر وتطوير الدور؟

عرفت العقلية التاريخية اليمنية أن إمكانات العدوان على بلادها كبيرة جداً بدعم إقليمي ودولي غير مسبوق فطبقت مفهوم حرب «الغوار الشعبية» بتراجع متعمّد أمام السعوديين والإماراتيين حتى صدَّق هؤلاء أنهم قاب قوسين أو أدنى من السيطرة على كل اليمن، وتبين أن دولة صنعاء تراجعت لتفكيك زخم المهاجمين وذلك بتراجع متعمّد ما أدّى إلى انتشارهم على مساحات يمنية واسعة فضعفوا.

هذا ما جرى بالعدوان الذي وزّع جيوشه على مئات آلاف الكيلومترات المربعة لضمان الاستمرار في سيطرتهم عليها.

لكنها حوّلت بذلك مواقعها إلى أهداف لقوات دولة صنعاء التي تجيد فنون الكرّ والفرّ، ما مكّنها من استنزاف حيوية جيوش العدوان وتحالفاتهم البحرية والجوية وحوّلتهم أهدافاً يصطادها المجاهدون بفنون قتال تاريخية.

إن هذا الاستيعاب للقوات الغازية، منح مجاهدي اليمن فرصة من الانتقال الى المرحلة الثانية التي أثارت دهشة المراقبين العسكريين في العالم، فكيف يمكن لبلد متواضع الإمكانات ومحاصَر ويحتلّ العدوان قسماً كبيراً منه أن ينتقل من الدفاع والقتال في الداخل الى اختراق الحدود السعودية المواجهة لأعالي صعدة الجبلية والسيطرة على أراضٍ سعودية، متسبباً بذعر سعودي يطلق أصوات استغاثة طلباً لنجدة من تغطياته الغربية والإقليمية والإسرائيلية.

لم يكتف المجاهدون بهذا القدر فأرسلوا صواريخ باليستية وطائرات مسيرة نحو أهداف نفطية واقتصادية وعسكرية أصابت أهدافها في مناطق مختلفة، وأحدثت رعباً داخلياً وخارجياً.

إن الطريقة التدريجية في قتال غير متكافئ بسبب الدعم الغربي المفتوح للسعودية جعل من الاسلحة العابرة للأجواء وسيلة لوضع الوظيفة النفطية السعودية في موقع صعب، بدليل أنه أصبح بإمكان انصار الله عرقلة إنتاج النفط كلما شعروا بالحاجة إلى إفهام آل سعود أن وجودهم الاحتلالي في اليمن أصبح على مشارف الهاوية، ما يعني أن عليهم الرحيل بسرعة.

يتبين إذاً أن أنصار الله فرضوا بقوة مُسَيّراتِهم الجوية، دوراً أساسياً لهم في النفط وبالقوة، لكنهم لم يكتفوا بهذه الوظيفة الشديدة الأهمية، ملحقين بها وظيفة أخرى، وهي حقهم بالمشاركة في أمن الملاحة في رأس الخليج عند حدود السعودية مع الكويت والعراق وحتى حدوده مع بحر عدن مروراً بمضيق هرمز وصولاً إلى باب المندب، فإذا كان الاميركيون يناشدون دول الغرب والشرق للمشاركة في أمن ملاحة مزعوم أفلا يحق لأهل الخليج والبحر الأحمر المشاركة في هذا الكرنفال؟

ضمن هذه المعادلة، يجب إدراج قصف المجاهدين اليمنيين لمدينة الدمَّام في الشمال الشرقي للسعودية مقابل الخليج، وقصف عرض عسكري في عدن المطلة بدورها على بحرها المرتبط بالخليج، فمن كانت لديه القدرة على إرسال صواريخ لمسافات تتجاوز 1200 كيلومتر وتصيب أهدافها بدقة، هو شريك بقوته العسكرية في أمن الملاحة، إنما على الطريقة اليمنية، وهذا يضع السعودية وحلفاءها في زاوية ضيقة لا فرار منها، فإما الانسحاب من اليمن على طريقة فرار المهزومين أو تقليص عائداتها من النفط واختراق حدودها وإرباك الملاحة في الخليج.

فماذا تختار؟ ربما يصنع أنصار الله مفاجآت جديدة فانتظروها.. وعندها لن ينفع الندم السعودي.

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SAUDI-LED COALITION CONFIRMS HOUTHIS USED CRUISE MISSILE IN ABHA AIRPORT ATTACK (PHOTOS)

South Front

On June 21, the Saudi-led coalition showcased remains of the projectile the Houthis used in the recent attack on Abha International Airport. The remains, which were inspected by U.S. envoy on Iran, Brian Hook, proved that the projectile was a cruise missile.

Saudi newspaper, Sabq, released photos showing remains of the missile’s fins and fuselage. The characteristics of the fuselage and the fins appear to be similar to that of the Soviet Kh-55 cruise missile.

Saudi-led Coalition Confirms Houthis Used Cruise Missile In Abha Airport Attack (Photos)

Click to see full-size image. Source: sabq.org

Saudi-led Coalition Confirms Houthis Used Cruise Missile In Abha Airport Attack (Photos)

Click to see full-size image. Source: sabq.org

One of the photos shows the remains of the missile’s engine, which was identified as the TJ-100. The turbojet engine, that’s is produced by Czech’s PBS Velká Bíteš, is not used in any known missile.

Saudi-led Coalition Confirms Houthis Used Cruise Missile In Abha Airport Attack (Photos)

Click to see full-size image. Source: sabq.org

While the cruise missile was designed after the Kh-55, it remains unclear if it was indeed developed and manufactured by the Houthis themselves.

In 2017, the Houthis launched what is suspected to be an Iranian Soumar cruise missile, a copy of the Kh-55, at the Barakah nuclear power plant in the UAE. This may explain how the Yemeni group and its backers got familiar with the missile’s design.

Saudi-led Coalition Confirms Houthis Used Cruise Missile In Abha Airport Attack (Photos)

Iranian Soumar missile, a copy of Kh-55. Click to see full-size image.

The Houthis’ new mysterious cruise missile proved to be effective when it hit the arrival terminal in Abha International Airport on June 12 with high-accuracy. The same type of cruise missiles was likely used in the June 19 attack on the al-Shuqaiq Water Desalination and Power Plant in southwestern Saudi Arabia.

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Saudi Authorities Target Families of Activists: Deprived of Life!

By al-Ahed

Beirut – The Saudi authorities continue their escalatory policies to silence any voice demanding rights and justice. In the context of tightening the grip on peaceful activists, the Saudi regime continues its oppressive measures against their families. It is preventing the families of those “wanted” from basic services, punishing them for their rightful activism.

According to information obtained by al-Ahed news, the Saudi authorities are banning families of activists from the governmental services, as well as depriving them of traveling or obtaining any personal document such as a passport or an identity card.

The families are also deprived of issuing identity and health cards belonging to their children, making it impossible for them to receive any kind of medical treatment or even entering hospitals.

The measures are practiced against the mothers, fathers, siblings, wives and children of those “wanted”, and include the educational services, banning them even from registering them at schools.

Not to mention, they are also being targeted financially as they are not allowed to renew their bank cards once they are expired, leading eventually to close their entire bank accounts, and logically, stop their living and daily affairs…

The Chilling Message of the Saudi Executions: Colorado Writer

Saudi flag

Terence Ward

May 9, 2019

Terence Ward is a Colorado-born writer, documentarist, and cross-cultural consultant. He grew up in Saudi Arabia, Iran and Egypt, and received his BA in political science at the University of California at Berkeley. For 10 years, he advised clients across the Gulf — Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia conducting management consulting projects and seminars. Ward is also the author of the books “Searching for Hassan” and “The Wahhabi Code: How the Saudis Spread Extremism Globally.”

A couple of weeks have passed since the dramatic beheadings of 37 Saudi citizens that shocked the world. According to Human Rights Watch, at least 33 of those who were executed were from the minority Shia community — which has suffered a long history of persecution in Saudi Arabia.

With the Kingdom facing mounting criticism over bombing deaths and starvation in the Yemen war, imprisoned and reportedly tortured women activists, and the grisly murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, many wonder why Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud offered critics another human rights issue? But these executions served a clear purpose to strike fear in the Saudi Shia population while rallying the royal family’s ultra-conservative Wahhabi – the official creed of the Kingdom fundamentalist base. In the end, to be Shia in Saudi Arabia has always been a complicated affair.

Few Americans know that Wahhabism, a branch of Sunni Islam, looks down on Shia Muslims as apostates. Violence against Shia communities is deeply rooted in the Saudi Kingdom’s DNA. Like African Americans in the Deep South, the Shia have suffered discrimination and suspicion from the Wahhabi ruling elite since the founding of the country in 1932.

Those who were executed in April included protestors who were arrested and convicted of terror-related crimes during the Arab Spring demonstrations in 2011 and 2012. However, the human rights group Amnesty International said the legal proceedings “violated international fair trial standards which relied on confessions extracted through torture.”

According to trial documents obtained by CNN, some of the men repeatedly told the court that their confessions were false and obtained through torture.

When Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman rose to power in 2017, there was some hope that the Salman dynasty would usher in reforms. However, anti-Shia rhetoric persisted. For example, the hardline cleric Saleh al-Fawzan, a member of the state-sponsored Council of Senior Scholars, claimed in 2017, that the Shia are infidels and that anyone who disagrees is also an infidel.

And al-Fawzan has also said that political dissidents who disagree with the Kingdom rulers should be put to death.

The disappearance and murder of Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government, after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, fell in line with the intentions of al-Fawzan’s rhetoric.

The CIA later concluded that King Salman’s son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally ordered his killing.

The Saudi government has repeatedly denied the allegations, although the US Senate voted to condemn the young prince for Khashoggi’s grisly fate.

While Khashoggi’s death sparked international outrage, the Trump administration steered clear of assigning blame, and many businesses have quietly continued their plans for expansion there.

Amid inflammatory rhetoric against Iran a country dominated by Shia — coming from the White House, King Salman seemed encouraged to send a clear message of terror to his restive Shia citizens.

In doing so, the Saudi government seems to be ignoring the increased pressures it has recently faced on numerous fronts. Congress defied President Donald Trump in voting to suspend military aid for the kingdom’s war in Yemen. The state-owned oil company Aramco’s called off its initial public offering, while investors have reportedly pulled funding for MBS’ ambitious economic plan called Vision 2030.

To counter these setbacks, King Salman has drawn inspiration from the earliest days of the Saud dynasty to secure his most loyal followers the archconservative Wahhabi faithful. Historical persecution of the Shias has been the life-blood of the Wahhabi sect that was borne in central Arabia more than 250 years ago. For centuries, the Shia who lived along the Persian Gulf suffered violence from Wahhabi believers, who labeled them infidels.

During my childhood in Dhahran, when my father worked at Saudi Aramco from 1952-1960, I witnessed persecution of Shia who call the oil-rich eastern province, known as Al-Ahsa, their home. Our friends lived in oasis towns where Shia communities have dwelled for centuries. The sad fact is that the staggering oil wealth that poured into Riyadh was siphoned away from the Eastern Province.

Little was spent in the Shia communities, yet they have represented the majority of Saudi manpower in Aramco — now likely the world’s most profitable company.

Instead of benefiting from the profits of vast oil fields that lay under historically Shia lands, they have been treated as second-class citizens since Ibn Saud, who would eventually go on to found Saudi Arabia, and his family conquered their homeland in 1913. Even today, some Shia friends of mine call it “religious apartheid.”

When I returned as a management consultant to Saudi Arabia in the 1980’s, clerics had condemned mixing between Sunnis and Shia as well as intermarriage.

In numerous religious rulings, the late grand mufti, Abdulaziz Bin Baz, condemned the Shia community. Bin Baz’s religious rulings are still available in the kingdom’s official database and are often cited in Saudi court rulings, which are based on Islamic law.

More recently, a member of the Council of Senior Scholars said that Shia Muslims were “not our brothers … rather they are the brothers of Satan…”, according to Human Rights Watch.

Because of the historic conflict with the Shia community, the execution orders handed down by Saudi magistrates in April were expected.

But larger questions remain. Will MBS truly bring change and a more moderate Islam? Or do these April beheadings signal continued anti-Shia sentiment?

Is the Crown Prince trying to spark a conflict with Iran mother country of the Shia? And will this plunge America and the region into yet another unconstitutional war? Given the Saudi history of aiding and abetting extremists while claiming to be their enemy, should America be wary of being lured into another conflict? We should be very wary.

Recently, US National Security Adviser John Bolton announced that an aircraft carrier strike group with a bomber task force had been deployed to the Persian Gulf to deter Iran.

The royal Saud family may be gambling that America will come to its rescue and plunge the US into, yet again, another war, in what would be another trillion-dollar debacle. The truth is that America is extremely efficient at starting wars but dramatically incompetent at ending them.

Any aggression against Iran risks rupturing ties with Europe and in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, while provoking conflict with both Russia and China. If shooting erupts, the narrow Strait of Hormuz — the gateway in and out of the Persian Gulf — will surely be closed to oil tankers until the guns are silent. Lights of the industrial world will dim. It will be a time for lighting candles, unless cooler heads prevail. Perhaps this is a moment to stand up to the Saudi royals, (after the unpleasant experiences with al-Qaeda and ISIS — both Wahhabi inspired) and not be lured in yet again to another conflagration without end.

 

Source: CNN

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